The unforgettable new novel from the Dagger Award-winning author of Wimmera, Mark Brandi. A novel that shows small-town life is unforgiving if you’re from the other side of the tracks.
Jimmy is a kid growing up fast on the poorest street in town. He tries to do everything right and look out for his mum and his younger brother. His older brother is in jail, so it’s up to Jimmy to hold things together. But small-town life is unforgiving if you’re from the other side of the tracks.
If only his mum didn’t drink so much. If only he could win the school billycart race. If only his best friend understood. If only he could stop his mum’s boyfriend from getting angry. If only he was there.
Jimmy soon learns that even when you get things right, everything can still go wrong.
If you’re ready to read a novel that will take hold of your heart, break it a little, as well as fill it with child-like hope and compassion, Southern Aurora is for you.
Multi-bestselling author Mark Brandi has created a character in Jimmy who’s impossible not to fall in love with. There’s a Mark Twain innocence and inner wisdom to Jimmy, one far beyond most adults, as he scouts his underprivileged life, seeking meaning and dreaming of a larger existence.
Brandi’s observations are breathtakingly original and his insights are astute: ‘Mum has taken her sunglasses off, and her eyes are looking at the place the Kaiser shows her, but she isn’t there yet. Not completely. She’s still mostly with us, so I’ll have to be extra good to keep her here.’ Brandi’s language is the perfect balance between lyrical and economical – and full of soul and song.
We have an immediate sense of Jimmy’s world, filled with his struggles and dreams. But also his feelings about his family – his mum, his mum’s boyfriend and his brothers – and friends. Brandi expertly weaves Jimmy’s overly developed sense of responsibility with the consequence of seeing and carrying too much from too young an age through his perceptions and experiences.
In many ways this is an intimate novel that’s completely unpretentious. Southern Aurora tackles issues of brutality, addiction, domestic violence, abandonment and grief and the dislocation of people who live on the fringe. But it’s all done with a purity that’s as rare as it is precious. Southern Aurora will tug on your heart strings and not let go. Please read it.